Superlatives

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Superlatives

Superlatives

What are the superlatives of Route 66 as Paul and I saw it?

Well, let us list them.

Best & Worst

Friendliest

The friendliest state was New Mexico.  I’ve never been to New Mexico before, but every single person we met was friendly.  We’re not talking about the tourists, but the people who live and work in New Mexico.  They score a 10 out of 10 for being friendly.

And Not So Friendly

California.  Yup, California.  I had one guy walk up and call me a “scum bag”.  Okay… that’s a first.  While we met friendly people, many of the businesses there could use a course in customer service.

Biggest Surprise

The biggest surprise along the way is the Los Angeles Temple for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is right on Route 66.

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A Family of L.A. Dodgers Fans Visiting the Temple Grounds

Best Food Superlatives

This is a very tough one.  I found it not too surprising that the beast meals were comped meals.  I guess when you are providing a complimentary meal to two journalists, you want it to be the best.

That isn’t to say the non-complementary meals weren’t good (well, some weren’t), we noticed a trend.

Burgers

I love a good burger.  The best burger is a tie – Santa Fe Grill in Santa Rosa, New Mexico and Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner in Kingman, Arizona.  Their onion rings… the same – a tie.

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Mr. D’z Diner Staff

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Santa Fe Grill Burger

Mexican Food

Best Mexican food was at Jerry’s Cafe in downtown Gallup, New Mexico.  The food was good, authentic and they are the friendliest people you’ll meet.  If you like sopaipillas with honey… mmmm, mmmm, mmmm.  This is the place.

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Sopaipilla

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The Staff at Jerry’s Cafe, Gallup, NM

Funniest Place

The funniest place on Route 66 is in Seligman, Arizona – the Snow Cap Drive-in.  Just ask for half a cone and see what I mean.  You don’t go here for the food, you come here for the entertainment.

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Inside the Snow Cap

Saddest Place

I remember the Oklahoma City bombing vividly.  Any news like that is sad, however, I was not prepared for the emotions I felt when I visited the site. Consequently I cried a lot while visiting this memorial.

I wasn’t sad for the slain, I was sad because of the evil that exists in the world today.

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Sad Reminders

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Jesus Wept

Happiest Place

Oh, there are lots of happy places along Route 66.  It depends on what you’re in the mood for.  For me, it would be the nicely restored Corvairs this couple have.  Or, maybe it was the fun people we met along the way.  Well, it could have been the tongue-n-cheek humor in Uranus, Missouri.  Therefore, there are MANY happy places on Route 66.

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The Axe Hole at Uranus

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Young Couple Enjoying Frozen Custard

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Fully Restored Corvair Monza Wagon

Road Conditions

To say there are superlatives with road conditions on Route 66 is an understatement.  Hence, I’ll just share a few of photos that tell the story.

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Cobblestone Brick

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A Dead End Section

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A Big Drop Off (this was actually closed to cars)

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Washboard and Potholes

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Unexpected Road Closures

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Winding Mountain Roads

Hotels and Motels

We stayed at many great places.  All of the hotels who provided complementary lodging were clean and nice.  I can’t say that about all the paid rooms.

It’s best in this category that I thank those who comped us roomes:

  • Comfort Suites in Rella, Missouri – Clean and friendly staff and right on Old Route 66
  • Enlight Inn in Joplin, Missouri – Charming Cottages, I want to go back.
  • Fairfield Inn in Tulsa, Oklahoma – Clean
  • Broadway Inn in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Off the beaten track, but close to everything
  • EconoLodge, Elk City, Oklahoma – Elk City is the middle of nowhere, but here’s the place to stay.
  • Quality Inn, Tucumcari, New Mexico – Treated us like family (in the good way).  The pool was ultra clean!
  • Holiday Inn Express, Gallup, New Mexico – Another clean hotel on Route 66
  • Ramblin Rose, Kingman, Arizona – Best Value for your money near the Grand Canyon!  Clean too!
  • Hilton, Pasadena, California – Best place to stay in Pasadena.  Service is top-notch
  • Special Mention
    • Fairmont, Santa Monica, California – Amazing view.  It’s a couple blocks off Route 66, but you can see it from the rooms that face south.

Not So Good

On the not-so-good side, I would not recommend Motel 6 in Normal, Illinois.  And, I would not recommend Budget Host Inn, Williams, Arizona.  The Motel 6 in Normal, Illinois, is filthy, and the Budget Host Inn in Williams is very over priced for what you get (or don’t get).  Don’t be fooled by Budget Host’s “free breakfast”.  It was a gallon of milk sitting on the counter, two sugary cereals and a couple of boxes of mini doughnuts (boxed, store bought kind).

More to Come

There is more to come.  Check back often for updates as we review our trip.

Thanks to Sponsors

Also, a very heartfelt thanks to all those who sponsored our trip…

  • Bay Photo Labs
  • Republic Wireless
  • Warner 5 Color
  • Walworth Animal Hospital
  • Alien Skin Software
  • Anthropics Software
  • ACDSee Software
  • Topaz Labs
  • On1 Software
  • Nataliacha Doodley Do
  • Fine Art by DB (Yeah, I personally put a lot of my business money in to this trip)

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Cheyenne

Cheyenne

Last night we checked in to the Little America Hotel here in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  It was exactly 40 years ago (October 1997) that I served as a missionary in Cheyenne for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.    It has changed a lot.

The front desk recommended Rib & Chop for dinner.  We went there and it was crowded, noisy and an hour wait.  We drove across town and back and found 2 Doors Down.

2 Doors Down

It is fortuitous we found 2 Doors Down.  When the cashier/owner, Sandy Inniss, saw our Route 66 Photographers shirt, she asked if we were Route 66 fans.  We explained we have just completed driving all of Route 66.

She pointed out a photo on the wall.  It was of the Blue Swallow in Tucumcari, New Mexico.  (We took a lot of night shots at the motel.)  She pointed out a Route 66 sign on the wall.  As we looked around, it had many Route 66 like decorations.

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Picture in 2 Doors Down, Cheyenne, Wyoming

As a result, we felt it was extremely fortuitous that Rib & Chop was too full to accommodate us.  This is where we are supposed to eat dinner.

About 2 Doors Down

This husband & wife owned establishment has been around for 8 years.  It is a sit-down restaurant, but you order and pay first, take a number to your table and they bring your meal to you.

For a very casual dining establishment, the service is better than most fancy restaurants.  Every time someone in a 2 Doors Down shirt walked by, they asked, “Can I get you anything else?”  Our drinks were kept full, and everyone there provides top-notch service.

Paul had spaghetti and meatballs.  I had lasagna.  They had homemade cinnamon rolls for today’s dessert special.  I couldn’t resist.  They were the BEST.   My only wish was that they would have had raisins and nuts.

Vidauwoo

40 years ago on a p-day, our zone came out to a place between Laramie and Cheyenne called Vidauwoo.  This pile of granite boulders made an indelible impression on me.

Again, it isn’t on Route 66, but it’s on our route home. (It’s right off I-80 and easy to get to.)   As a result, I must stop.  We stopped, and I took a bunch of photographs.

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In October 1977 I climbed to the top of the rock on the left.

Because I’m not 20 years old any more, I did not climb the big rocks.  I’m sure I could make my way to the top these days, but after that, it would take a helicopter rescue.

 

 

 


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Drive to Rolla

Drive to Rolla

The drive to Rolla has worn me out.  The day started with me going to church in Saint Louis.  After church, I picked up Paul and we began our drive to Rolla, Missouri.

At church I saw the full-time Elders for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  When I told them I was from Palmyra, the one elder asked, “Do you know Elder and Sister Rowley?”

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Brent and Elder Rowley

I told him I did, and he told me they are his grandparents.

Rolling Hills

As we left Saint Louis we got in to rolling hills.  We saw many abandoned businesses.  It’s sad.  Route 66 gets a lot of traffic, and to see these businesses not thriving is really sad.

Beware

You have to beware of businesses that great you with, “I don’t want my picture taken,” and then ask, “Are you going to come into my shop?”

From there it went to, “There’s a $2 entrance fee, but it will be applied to your purchases.”

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Let the Buyer Beware

What the heck.  Paul and I obliged her, but she wasn’t very accommodating when it came to us taking pictures.  As a result, we didn’t take many pictures at this location.  When we asked about it’s history, we were told, “I don’t know.”

Hey, if you’re looking for a $30 pebble, she’ll sell it to you.  (I stuck to a couple of postcards and a magnet.)

No Diners and THEN

We were not come across any diners so we ate a late lunch at Steak ‘n Shake.  No sooner as we get on the road again we come across and diner and a BBQ joint.  I told Paul… no more fast food chains.  We hold out until we hit a good Route 66 diner!!!

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Hick Chicks at Hicks BBQ

Can’t Make Up This Stuff

You can’t make up this stuff.  A bill board for a fudge store in Uranus.  Their motto:  The Best Fudge Comes from Uranus.  See for yourself.

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Uranus Fudge

Comfort Suites

We cannot thank Comfort Suites enough for our rooms tonight.  Paul and I are both beat and we walk in and are greeted warmly.  Our rooms are the best we’ve seen on this trip.

Our rooms have a sofa, foot stools, desk and office chair, fridge, microwave, king sized bed and more.  The place has an exercise room, swimming pool and laundry room.  (Mine’s in the dryer as I type.)

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My Room at Comfort Suites in Rolla

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The Hotel Lobby

If you’re doing Route 66 through Missouri, I highly recommend Comfort Suites in Rella, Missouri.  Tell them Brent & Paul sent you.

The rest of the Pictures